There is a segment of American society that doesn’t like abortion. Fine. Don’t have one. I don’t mind that you think abortion is against your religion or whatever, but there’s that little Commandment, you know, the one that says ‘Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor”. It’s #9 in the Big Ten, so I’m thinking it’s considered a pretty important thing not to do if it’s one of the named things you’re supposed to be observing. It’s not me saying it – it’s the Big “G” for all you rabid Fundamentalist Christians out there. If you’re so against abortion, I strongly recommend you abstain from the practice. That said, you might want to stop lying about Planned Parenthood and what it is this non-profit organization does in the name of women and families.
But don’t take my word for it. I came prepared with visual aids and facts and statistics and all of that inconvenient stuff that isn’t based on lies, myths, and what you may have previously been ‘told’. The numbers don’t lie:
35% of all services are devoted to testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. 35% of all services are devoted to providing contraception (for women and men) to their clients. Contraception. You know, the thing that prevents pregnancy and thus, prevents abortion? 16% of all services are devoted to cancer screening and prevention. 10% of all services are devoted to other women’s health services. 3% of all services are devoted to providing abortions. 1% of all services fall outside of the above-named categories. Now, I sat there and listened to the talking heads on Fox News blatantly lie and say ‘the primary function of Planned Parenthood is to murder babies – they’re abortionists!” Um, no, they’re not. Even high school students taking a basic Probability and Statistics course will tell you that 3%, does not make it their ‘primary’ function. Look again at the chart. Facts. Last year, Senator Jon Kyl, in an effort to demonize and de-fund Planned Parenthood, stood on the floor of the United States Senate and claimed “over 90% of all services provided by Planned Parenthood is abortion.” Of course, he back-peddled and stated his comment was ‘not intended to be a factual statement’ and then proceeded to have his comments deleted from the Congressional Record. It’s on videotape, Senator Kyl. This is the modern age, Sir. I’ve got it on videotape. But it’s okay, you were only off by 87%, I mean, it was an honest mistake.
Yeah. Videotape. And for the record, given that about 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s users are over age 20, and 75 percent have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line, they DO have to go to Planned Parenthood to get their cholesterol checked because in nearly all cases, that is their only source of health care providers. Yeah, Senator, it was a lie from top to bottom. You didn’t just bend the truth. You broke the damned thing clean off.
And then we have the people who claim that Planned Parenthood participates and actively practices eugenics against African Americans. Their proof? Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a proponent of eugenics. She was also a proponent of the right to choose and a leading proponent of birth control. They’ve cherry-picked that one thing from her background and made it a race issue. Well, I call bullshit. Yes, Margaret Sanger believed that if birth defects ran in the family or if someone was considered ‘feeble-minded’, they should undergo forced sterilization, something that I adamantly oppose, but abortion was never a part of the equation. But Margaret Sanger’s personal views (the woman has been dead for nearly 50 years) have nothing to do with the modern mission of Planned Parenthood. Perhaps a look-see at just who is actually having abortions is in order here… white women account for 36% of abortions, black women for 30%, Hispanic women for 25% and women of other races for 9%. Referring to abortion as the maafa (Black Holocaust) or black genocide is a blatant lie. In 2009, Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions while its contraceptive services prevented approximately 612,000 unintended pregnancies. So, while they are the largest abortion provider in the U.S., their reproductive health services, including contraception, prevented nearly twice as many unintended pregnancies as the number of abortions they performed. But if white women were the ones actually getting more abortions than any other racial demographic, how can anyone sit there with a straight face and claim Planned Parenthood is participating in eugenics against African American women? The numbers just don’t wash. Me and my damned facts again.
Ultimately, the abortion issue has turned from the common sense fact that, regardless of your personal opinion or mine, women will always seek abortion services. Those of us who remember when birth control was illegal and when 10,000 American women a year died from illegal abortions don’t have to imagine a world without choices. We were there.
How the social conservatives have framed the issue plays a large part in how they’re so able to lie about the facts. Calling themselves ‘pro-life’ does not make me ‘anti-life’. Calling themselves ‘anti-abortion’ does not makes me ‘pro-abortion’. President Obama said, “No one is pro abortion.” I believe that, but most of America is pro-choice. Calling the termination of a non-viable fetus with no formed brain and thus, no consciousness, murder, doesn’t make that a fact either. I don’t mind that they don’t like abortion. Frankly, I don’t either. I do mind that they use blatant subterfuge to demonize women, encourage the harassment and the killing of abortion providers and force their beliefs on women based on their personal faith. I do mind that they would rather relegate poor women to back alley butchers while wealthy women will always have access to safe, if not legal abortions. Playing the maafa race card is disingenuous when the very people who will be victimized by your lies are poor and minority women. All I’m asking for is a little honesty. Truthfully say that you want to legislate your personal morality and your religious beliefs on all American women. Oh, but you won’t do that, because you know that to do so is blatantly un-American and the truth will set us all free. May I refer you back to Commandment #9…
Carol Baker is a political writer, satirist, and co-host with Vicki Childs of our Here Women Talk weekly internet talk radio show called BROADSIDED. You can hear their show every Thursday at 11 am Eastern/10 Central/8 Pacific.